Crystal River Cruises Unveils Comprehensive New Collection Of Curated Destination Experiences

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By sea, river, land or air, Crystal has redefined the way the world views luxury travel.

MIAMI, December 12, 2017 – Crystal River Cruises today announced details of its new collection of destination experiences for voyages along Europe’s Danube, Rhine and Main rivers. Debuting in 2018, the newly added offerings focus on authenticity and are tailored to travelers’ individual interests, featuring smaller group sizes and unique details. Nearly 200 enriching excursions are included, with additional pursuits also available at a cost. The shore-side excursions highlight the multi-faceted character of each destination and comprises five types of experiences including:

Personal Connections – Those looking to explore the culture of a destination can enjoy a one-of-a-kind tour hosted by local residents, artisans and experts;
Tantalizing Gastronomy – Guests can relish in the signature culinary styles and specialties of the destination with a variety of dining and hands-on cooking opportunities;
Cultural Discoveries – Guests will enjoy comprehensive insight from expert guides into historical landmarks, museums, iconic sites and architectural marvels;
Exhilarating Adventures – Active cruise travelers can participate in a selection of invigorating pursuits that combine historical and cultural experiences;
Design Your Time – For a more tailored vacation, guests can choose this option, which features a concierge service that designs unique private tours as well as a menu of customized choices.

“Every detail of the Crystal River Cruises’ curated destination program has been revamped to focus on choices, and offer more intimate, immersive experiences that perfectly suit travelers’ preferences and properly showcase the charm and beauty of the destinations,” says Walter Littlejohn, managing director and vice president of Crystal River Cruises. “While each locale offers its own distinct ‘can’t-miss’ experiences, we recognize that every guest brings his or her own distinct style of exploration, and we strive to cater to that individuality.”

With many destinations offering more than a dozen choices for shore-side discovery, some of the new experiences featured on voyages in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Belgium, Netherlands, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia include:

Nearly 200 Inclusive Adventures including:

> Immersive culinary experience in the foodie haven of Rotterdam;
> String & opera performance in a historic Antwerp cathedral;
> A full day exploring Salzburg from Linz;
> Horse show & carriage ride at Lázár Equestrian Park;
> An owner-hosted tasting at Schlagkamp Winery in Cochem;
> Cycle to Veitshochheim Castle and its Rococo Garden in Wurzburg;
> Behind-the-scenes tour of Amsterdam’s greenhouses, where the famous tulips are cultivated.

Dozens of Optional Experiences including:

> Vintage photography adventure in Vukovar;
> Hands-on instruction in Linzer torte baking;
> Private home cooking lesson in Kehl;
> Wine tasting in the renowned cellars of Vienna’s Palais Coburg;
> Canoe through the romantic canals of Strasbourg;
> Explore Budapest by Trabant Cars;
> Hands-on creativity in one of Novi Sad’s last remaining tapestry workshops;
> Horseback riding through the forests of Novi Sad’s Fruška Gora National Park.

Each river itinerary will also feature inclusive Signature Events – special events that offer rare access and musical performances in iconic landmarks including Vienna’s Belvedere Palace, Linz’s St. Florian Monastery, Rüdesheim’s Monastery Eberbach, and others.

To ensure that every detail of each experience is in line with Crystal’s exacting standards of service, excursion group sizes are limited to no more than 15 guests; for larger groups, guides are available to lead the tours in German, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages upon request. Crystal Collection shore excursions offer guest transport to iconic sites and regions via spacious motor coaches that include free WiFi.

Guests can fully embrace the culture, flavors, history and activities of each destination with the expansive selection offered aboard Crystal Mozart, Crystal Bach, Crystal Mahler, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel. Fares for Crystal River Cruises start at $3,175 per person including Early Booking Savings of up to $1000 per suite.

 

 

By sea, river, land or air, Crystal has redefined the way the world views luxury travel. The world-renowned Crystal Experience – featuring global journeys with Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, Crystal AirCruises and Crystal Air – continues to entice the world’s most discerning travelers with incomparable luxury and unparalleled personal service. Crystal will expand its fleet with the upcoming Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel river ships, the Crystal Endeavor expedition yacht and an entirely new class of ocean ships over the next five years.

Celebrating 27 years of excellence, Crystal Cruises is the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line, having earned “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 24 years; been voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 years; and the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by travel professional organization Virtuoso for three consecutive years (2014, 2015 & 2016).  The readers of Travel + Leisure also voted Crystal River Cruises the “World’s Best River Cruise Line” and Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises the “World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” in 2017. Crystal is proud to be a platinum partner of the professionals of ASTA.

Viking announces sponsorships of new Downton Abbey Exhibition

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Los Angeles (November 17, 2017) – Viking® announced it has signed on as presenting sponsor of Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, which will make its North American debut tomorrow in New York City, giving guests a chance to experience an up-close and personal look at the history, fashion and culture of post-Edwardian England – as well as the iconic country home – that were featured in the Emmy® Award-winning series. Viking became a household name with its sponsorship of the celebrated series MASTERPIECE during the years Downton Abbey aired on PBS, and this new partnership builds on the company’s continued commitment to enriching cultural programming. Viking’s current and past partnerships include Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey; National Geographic and its first fully scripted global anthology series, “Genius;” the Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl; The Metropolitan Opera; the BBC; Oslo’s the Munch Museum; St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre; and others. The limited engagement exhibition opens in Manhattan on November 18 and will run through April 9, 2018.

“Our guests are curious explorers who enjoy being immersed in the cultures of the world, and many of them first learned about Viking and our destination-focused small ship cruises while watching Downton Abbey,” said Richard Marnell, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Viking. “We are pleased to partner with this enriching new exhibition as a natural extension of our longstanding relationship with MASTERPIECE, Highclere Castle and the Carnarvon family.”

Viking, a national sponsor of MASTERPIECE since 2011, also offers its guests a Privileged Access experience at Highclere Castle, the setting of the popular series. The Oxford & Highclere Castle pre- or post- trip extension is available for guests on select river and ocean cruise itineraries. The Privileged Access extension was co-created by Karine Hagen, Viking’s Senior Vice President, with her dear friends and owners of the iconic home, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. The extension provides guests with an exclusive three-day experience in the rolling hills of England’s countryside with a champagne welcome and tours of the estate. Speaking about the Oxford & Highclere Castle extension, Lady Carnarvon said, “Through my long friendship with Karine, I am delighted to welcome Viking guests here for special tours, and I hope to meet many more of them in the future.”

Created by NBCUniversal International Studios, Downton Abbey: The Exhibition is the first-ever fully immersive experience set inside the world of the multi award-winning global television phenomenon. Visitors will be transported on an incredible journey through the grand home of Downton Abbey as the exhibition peers into the world of the Crawleys and those that served them below stairs. From Mrs. Patmore’s hectic kitchen and the gossip-fueled servants’ quarters, to the family’s glamorous dining room and Lady Mary’s bedroom, fans will get the chance to walk through some of the series’ most recognizable and beloved sets and more than 50 of the show’s official costumes worn by their favorite actors.

“We are delighted that Viking has chosen to extend its long running partnership with the Downton Abbey brand via our new touring exhibition,” said Dominic Burns, Senior Vice President of Brand Management for NBCUniversal International Studios. “Viking’s commitment to excellence and quality of service is perfectly aligned with the experience that we hope to deliver to our visitors. The strong association between the two brands will be further enhanced during our stay in New York.”

The highly-anticipated multi-city tour will open its doors at 218 W 57th Street (between Broadway and 7th Ave) in New York City for a limited engagement before traveling throughout the U.S. Tickets are available to purchase at www.downtonexhibition.com. The exhibition will open daily between 10am and 8pm, including on holidays. VIP packages and private hire options are also available. Additional U.S. locations will be announced at a later date.

Fans of Downton Abbey also have an opportunity to experience Highclere Castle in their own homes by purchasing “At Home at Highclere: Entertaining at the Real Downton Abbey,” available on Amazon here. In her newest book about the history of her husband’s ancestral home, Lady Fiona Carnarvon invites readers inside Highclere Castle and shares family recipes and stories, while also describing how to entertain in the style of a stately English country house: from the etiquette of the invitation and proper attire, to correct seating arrangements and table-setting.

The Viking Difference

Designed for discerning travelers, Viking offers guests “the thinking person’s cruise” as an alternative to mainstream cruises. The Viking Difference is providing guests with extraordinarily well-designed cruises that bring them closer to the cultures of the world. Itineraries are designed for maximum time in port, often with late evenings or overnights, so guests can experience local culture at night or evening performances. And only The Viking Way of exploration brings guests itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

In addition, Viking Inclusive Value provides a small ship experience and no nickel-and-diming – with every cruise fare including an exterior stateroom, a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes. Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including: beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; and coffee, tea and bottled water available 24 hours a day. Viking’s ocean guests also enjoy additional complimentary amenities, including: alternative restaurant dining, self-service laundry; access to the Thermal Suite in the LivNordic Spa; and 24-hour room service.

For more information, booking please Contact an ILC Cruise Specialist.

U By Uniworld’s Ship – The B sets sail on Maiden Voyage

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NEW YORK, October 9, 2017 –U by Uniworld, the new exciting river cruise brand offering immersive, fun and adventurous travel for 21-45-year-olds, debuted its first ship Oct. 7, 2017 in Paris, France. The B set sail on its maiden voyage along the Seine River with top influencers with a combined reach of nearly 10 million, lifestyle media, travel agents and contest winners onboard to get an exclusive “Sneak Peek” of the first-ever river cruise brand for millennials.

“We’re thrilled to make history with the launch of U by Uniworld and introduce a whole new generation to river cruising,” said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “It’s very exciting to see this vision come to life and to have such influential, well-traveled young people onboard to experience it for the first time.”

The inaugural events included a drum circle creating a spiritual energy onboard, sabering champagne on the top deck and a renaming ceremony where guests released biodegradable lanterns to symbolize letting go of Uniworld’s River Baroness ship and starting new with The B. The renaming ceremony was led by the ship’s ‘Guardian Angel’ Petra Nemcova, supermodel and noted philanthropist. “It’s truly an honor to be named ‘Guardian Angel’ of The B ship,” said Petra. “For me, travel has always been a bridge – not only to the world’s most marvelous places, like Paris, but to the people that bring these destinations and attractions to life, and U by Uniworld will give young travelers the opportunity to be among like-minded people.” Following the ceremony, guests danced the night away with local pop-electro alternative rock band SHINE.

During the remainder of this preview journey, guests will experience all that U has to offer onboard from yoga and camping on the top deck, a silent disco party to mixology, impressionist paint and wine classes. Offshore, guests will experience some of U’s unique, immersive excursions such as a panoramic breakfast on a Gastronome bus, treasure hunt at the Louvre, secret tour of Versailles, a Paris City Roofs tour and more.

The B ship was renamed following extensive renovations and design changes of Uniworld’s River Baroness ship. U unveils with a new sexy, stylish look and feel, inviting up to 120 fun-loving travelers per voyage, spread across its four Suites, 26 Balcony Bedrooms, 29 Studio Bedrooms and two Studios Bedrooms with triple occupancy – all with waterfront views and equipped with built-in Bluetooth speakers. The B is the only ship on the river to reveal a unique all-matte black exterior. The ship boasts two rooftop venues, a spa, mixologists, international DJ’s, communal tables for dining, and farm-to-table cuisine with dishes ranging from Bea Tollman’s Spaghetti Pomodoro, U by Quinoa Burgers, Miso Marinated Wild Salmon to Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Bars.

A pioneer in sustainable tourism, U offers organic BeeKind amenities in all rooms, uses WhatsApp and email for internal communication with guests doing away with the traditional paper daily itineraries on cruise ships, displays menus on screens in the bar and restaurant, has a Press Reader app for guests to receive news onboard and is creating an app, which will connect travelers before, during and after their trips together and debut in March 2018 ahead of the first bookable sailings.

Sailings on The B and U’s second ship, The A, begin in April 2018 with prices starting at $200 per person, per day. Four eight-day itineraries – The Seine Experience, Rolling on the Rhine, Germany’s Finest and The Danube Flow – will sail along the Rhine, Main, Danube and Seine Rivers, with overnight stops and longer stays available in major cities including Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Budapest. U by Uniworld will also offer two five-day holiday itineraries – Dashing Through The Danube and A Merry Little Christmas Cruise – during the holiday season.

Crystal River Cruises Announces New Itineraries for 2019

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Shorter options highlight European journeys along the Rhine, Danube, Moselle and Main Rivers for the fleet of five luxury river ships

MIAMI, October 4, 2017 – Crystal River Cruises, The World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line, has released its enhanced schedule of 2019 voyages, with more seven-day options in addition to the traditional 10-, 11-, 14- and 16-day routes. The voyages will embark in March 2019 with a fleet of five luxury river ships, including the “Queen of the Danube,” Crystal Mozart, plus four “Rhine Class” sister ships, Crystal Bach, Crystal Mahler, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel. The itineraries span the most beautiful waterways in Europe, with each ship offering varied routes focusing on the Rhine and Danube rivers, with sojourns along the Moselle and Main Rivers incorporated into select sailings.

“We are thrilled to announce more options than ever for Crystal River Cruises’ first full year as a complete family of five river ships,” says Walter Littlejohn, vice president and managing director of Crystal River Cruises. “The Crystal River experience is definitively unmatched in the industry. With five stylish and superbly appointed ships sailing itineraries that can accommodate virtually any schedule in 2019, travelers can enjoy a wealth of choices for their dream river cruise vacation – an experience named the ‘World’s Best’ by the readers of Travel + Leisure.”

Each itinerary has been carefully crafted to showcase not only the medieval and modern towns along the rivers’ shorelines, but the tranquility, intimacy and beauty of river cruising itself. Crystal sailings offer more extended and overnight stays in port, Complimentary Crystal Adventures shore excursions in every port, and a host of world-class culinary and cultural pursuits to enhance the journey. Major hubs of commerce and government like Amsterdam, Vienna, Frankfurt, Budapest and Basel display their prominence in the modern global landscape while paying homage to their storied pasts at every turn. Other quaint towns boast cobbled alleyways and pristinely preserved historical landmarks, along with welcoming hospitality and charm.

The complete 2019 Crystal River Cruises deployment is available for booking and exploring on the company’s website. Some highlights of the fleet’s 2019 itineraries include:

*NEW* Wonders of the Danube, 7 days, Linz to Budapest/Budapest to Linz
Crystal Mahler, Crystal Ravel
Bookended with overnight stays in Budapest and Linz, this voyage also offers two full days in Vienna, plus calls to Krems and Melk, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia.

*NEW* Danube Dreams & Discoveries, 7 days, round-trip Vienna
Crystal Ravel, Crystal Mozart
Venturing from Vienna to Hungary’s Esztergom and Budapest (overnight), and Bratislava, Slovakia, this itinerary returns to Austria to visit Melk, Spitz (overnight) and Krems before concluding with an overnight in Vienna.

*NEW*Magnificent Christmas Markets, 7 days, Passau to Budapest/Budapest to Passau
Crystal Mahler
Showcasing the glittering sights and sounds of the traditional holiday festivities, this itinerary offers longer stays in port throughout, with overnights in Passau, Vienna and Budapest, plus a visit to Linz.

*NEW*Grand Danube Celebration, 11 days, Budapest to Nuremburg
Crystal Mahler
This singular Christmas holiday voyage features a double overnight stay in Budapest, with Christmas Day spent sailing the Danube River. New Year’s Eve will call in Regensburg, Germany, with other destinations including Bratislava, Vienna (overnight), Krems, Melk, Linz, Passau and ending with an overnight in Nuremberg.

Legendary Rhine, 7 days, Basel to Amsterdam
Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy
Featuring overnights in Rüdesheim, Koblenz and Cologne, Germany, as well as Amsterdam, Netherlands, this itinerary also calls in Karlsruhe and Mannheim, Germany.

Splendors of the Rhine, 10 days, Amsterdam to Basel
Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy
Beginning and ending with overnight stays in two of the Europe’s most fascinating cities (two nights in Amsterdam), the voyage also offers an overnight in Koblenz and visits to other German gems including Speyer, Kehl (for Strasbourg, France), Breisach, Rüdesheim and Cologne.

Jewels of the Rhine, 14 days, Amsterdam to Frankfurt/Frankfurt to Amsterdam
Crystal Bach
Overnight stays in Amsterdam, Rüdesheim and Basel maximize the immersive experience in these dynamic destinations, while a jaunt along the Moselle River offers new viewpoints from the ship. Other ports of call include Antwerp, Belgium; Nijmegen, Netherlands; Cologne, Cochem, Koblenz, Mainz, Speyer, Kehl (for Strasbourg, France), and Breisach, Germany. *November and December itineraries include visits to some of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets along the journey.

Tulips and Windmills, 7 days, round-trip Amsterdam
Crystal Debussy
Beginning and ending with overnight stays in Amsterdam, the voyage also explores the picturesque countryside and iconic sites of Rotterdam and Middleburg, Netherlands; and Ghent and Antwerp, Belgium.

Grand Europe, 16 days, Budapest to Amsterdam/Amsterdam to Budapest
Crystal Mahler
Overnighting in Budapest, Vienna, Passau and Amsterdam, this itinerary affords ample time for guests to explore the monumental history within those cities’ limits, with other calls including Bratislava, Slovakia; Dürnstein and Melk, Austria, as well as the country’s UNESCO-recognized Wachau Valley; and Deggendorf, Regensburg, Nuremburg, Bamberg, Koblenz, Cologne, Miltenberg and Würzburg, Germany. Transit of the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal locks is also a highlight.

Eastern Danube Discoveries, 11 days, round-trip Vienna
Crystal Mahler, Crystal Ravel
Exploring the eastern realms of the river, the itinerary includes the treasures of Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Mohács, Esztergom and Kalocsa, Hungary; Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia and Vukovar, Croatia; Bratislava, Solvakia; Szentendre Island and cruising the Iron Gate Gorge.

Treasures of the Danube, 10 days, round-trip Vienna
Crystal Mahler, Crystal Ravel, Crystal Mozart
Three total overnights in Vienna allows guests extended time to immerse themselves in the fascinating history of the city, while overnights in Budapest and Passau also enhance the experience. Other destinations featured include Austria’s Dürnstein, Melk and Linz, the celebrated Wachau Valley.

Danube Serenade, 7 days, Vienna to Budapest/Budapest to Vienna
Crystal Mahler, Crystal Ravel, Crystal Mozart
In addition to a comprehensive focus in Austria with an overnight in Vienna and calls to Krems, Spitz, Linz and Melk, the sailing also visits Bratislava, Slovakia and concludes with an overnight in Budapest.

Danube Christmas Markets, 10 days, round-trip Vienna
Crystal Mozart
Showcasing the holiday spirit throughout Europe’s most historic and beautiful Christmas market, this voyage spend three total nights in Vienna, plus Linz (overnight), Melk, Krems, Passau (overnight), Bratislava and iIlshofen an der Donau, Germany.

Dazzling Danube Celebration, 13 days, round-trip Vienna
Crystal Mozart
This holiday voyage sails from Vienna through the winter wonderland of Melk, Passau (overnight), Vilshofen an der Donau, Linz (overnight), Budapest (overnight), Esztergom and Bratislava en route back to Vienna in time to ring in the New Year.

Crystal River Cruises’ river ships set a new standard of luxury previously unseen on Europe’s rivers with the embarkation of Crystal Mozart. Continuing this direction, the four all-suite, all-balcony “Rhine Class” river ships offer plush amenities and spaces rare seen in the river cruising industry, including Panoramic Balcony-Windows™, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, personal iPads, wall-mounted 42-inch, flat-screen HD TVs with streaming movies, complimentary Wi-Fi, and Nespresso machines. Each suite also offers Crystal’s celebrated butler service to attend to guests’ individual wishes. Additional enticing features include a luxurious spa and separate fitness center and Crystal’s farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine in multiple, open-seating eateries: the elegant Waterside Restaurant, namesake Bistro cafés and the exclusive Vintage Room; and the Palm Court.

All-inclusive fares for Crystal River Cruises’ 2019 itineraries begin at $2,805 per person.

By sea, river, land and air, Crystal has redefined the way the world views luxury travel. Celebrating 27 years of excellence, Crystal Cruises is the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line, having earned “World’s Best Cruise Ship” in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 23 years; been voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 20 years; and the “Best Luxury Cruise Line” by travel professional organization Virtuoso for three consecutive years (2014, 2015 & 2016).  The readers of Travel + Leisure also voted Crystal River Cruises the “World’s Best River Cruise Line” and Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises the “World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” in 2017. The newest and upcoming extensions of the celebrated Crystal brand include Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal River Cruises – The World’s Most Luxurious River Cruise Line – Crystal AirCruises and Crystal Exclusive Class with Crystal Residences. Crystal is proud to be a platinum partner of the professionals of ASTA.

Why your next cruise should be a River Cruise

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It’s no secret that river cruising is one of the hottest trends in travel. More and more Canadians are intrigued by the small-ship intimacy, the off-the-beaten waves itineraries and generous inclusions to be found on a river cruise.

Most of our clients “graduate” to river cruising after taking a number of big ship cruises. If this sounds like you, here’s a little rundown on the differences you may expect:

Not surprisingly, ship size. A river cruise ship may hold as few as 36 or as many as 200 or so passengers – a huge difference from the big ships which now can host as many as 5,000 passengers. So while there’s not the room for the plethora of restaurants and bars, the exotic activities, shops and spas, the trade off is that your are never far from your stateroom; embarkation and disembarkation can take seconds rather than hours; and you’ll get to know the crew and your fellow passengers much more quickly.

AmaVida_AlfrescoDiningSpeaking of restaurants, most river cruise ships offer one or two restaurants. For example, in Europe, Avalon Waterways’ ships have a main restaurant; a bistro offering tapas-style dining a couple of times a week; and a Skydeck open for al-fresco lunches, weather permitting. Wine and beer is included with dinner (and speaking of drinks, if you wish to purchase alcohol ashore and sample it in your cabin, that’s permitted, unlike on big ships which will hold your purchases until disembarkation).

Evening entertainment may range from a visit by musicians or dancers to give you an insight into local culture. Tastings and informal lectures as well as port talks outlining the next day’s port of call are also part of the entertainment on a river cruise.
It’s worth mentioning that these days, river cruise ships are known for their modern comforts. Many were within the last five years, and they often feature spacious cabins with WiFi, balconies or large sliding glass walls, marble bathrooms, minibars, movies on demand and more.

But for many passengers the real highlight is the opportunity to walk on and off the ship as you wish. You often dock in the heart of a city or medieval town and are welcome to explore when you want. River cruising also gives you the opportunity to visit smaller ports of call that larger ships are simply too big to get to.

Another significant difference with river cruises is that shore excursions are included, an excellent value when you consider the hundreds of dollars they can cost on a big ship cruise.

We can work with you to plan your perfect river cruise to Europe (the most popular destination) but also to China, Southeast Asia (Myanmar – formerly Burma – being a “hot” new destination), Peru, Egypt and more. Bon voyage!

U By Uniworld makes waves with first-ever river cruise brand for Younger Travelers

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NEW YORK, NY – April 5, 2017 –U by Uniworld—a groundbreaking brand from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection—is now available for bookings, allowing travel enthusiasts aged 21 to 45 to experience nine enticing European itineraries beginning in spring 2018.  The first-ever cruise brand of its kind, U by Uniworld transforms the travel industry paradigm with a fresh approach to experiential travel, introducing a whole new audience to cruising, on some of the most interesting rivers of Europe. U by Uniworld offers fun, immersive, authentic and adventurous itineraries and a seamless way to experience Europe from city to city.

“Uniworld has always strived to lead innovation in the river cruise industry and we saw a great opportunity with U by Uniworld to reach an entirely new audience,” said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “River cruising is the best and most comfortable way to experience all that Europe has to offer, in an affordable way, and we’re incredibly proud to create a brand that will broaden the interest in this type of experiential travel.”

“The U by Uniworld brand is built on a foundation of Uniworld’s river cruising expertise and the leadership in youthful travel of its sister brands Contiki and Busabout,” said Brett Tollman, Chief Executive of The Travel Corporation (TTC). “The official sales launch of U by Uniworld reflects the unwavering determination and drive of The Travel Corporation to continue to innovate in and contribute to the travel & tourism industry. We look forward to seeing this exciting new TTC brand becoming established, successful and growing in the coming years under Ellen’s dynamic leadership.”

Four eight-day itineraries—Rolling On The Rhine, Germany’s Finest, The Danube Flow and The Seine Experience—sail the Rhine, Main, Danube and Seine Rivers, with overnight stops and longer stays in major cities like Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and Budapest. Three Super Cruise options combine two or more U itineraries into one 15 or 22-day bucket list journey. U by Uniworld also offers two five-day holiday itineraries–Dashing Through The Danube and A Merry Little Christmas Cruise–for those who want to experience the magic of Christmastime in Europe and a special New Year’s Eve celebration. Available only on The A, these festive itineraries include a trek through a Bavarian Forest to Passau’s Christmas Market; a Viennese “Taste of Christmas” excursion; and an exclusive, classic Christmas concert in Klosterneuburg Abbey.

With a maximum capacity of 120 adventurous travelers, the first two U by Uniworld ships – The A and The B – will be all black outside and feature a sleek, cool interior design with open communal spaces and rooftop lounges, where guests can enjoy scenic river views while sipping on craft cocktails and mingling with like-minded travelers when they start cruising in April 2018. The A and The B will serve as a fully-equipped waterfront contemporary hotel, taxi, bar, restaurant, café, nightclub and yoga studio, all in one. U by Uniworld ships provide the perfect balance between local authenticity and the comfort of home, offering travelers the hassle-free ability to tour multiple cities and countries while only unpacking once.

U by Uniworld’s lineup of onboard programming includes Wine & Paint Classes, where passengers can sip on a glass of local wine while painting the scenery before them; Mixology Classes taught by the master bartenders onboard; and Chef’s Table Cooking Classes, a tasty way to experience the culinary riches of each destination.

Onshore experiences are designed for those with a passion for exploration and a taste for authenticity, allowing ample time for passengers to meet locals, discover restaurants and bars in each city and enjoy both independent discovery and guided excursions. Each day on U by Uniworld, guests are given the flexible options to explore in one of three ways—included excursions and activities, optional “U Time” outings, or a self-guided tour of the cities. Curated programming is tailored to individual travel personalities, such as foodies, culture buffs, adventure seekers, explorers, solo travelers, romantics, and night owls, with itineraries to satisfy every individuals’ passions.

Foodies will salivate over local market shopping with the ship’s chef in Rouen while culture buffs will delight in a guided bike tour of top World War II sites in Nuremberg. Adventurers can rock climb at 6,500 ft. or white water raft, explorers can kayak through UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and solo travelers will love creating a custom drink to their tastes after meeting a Master Distiller at the world’s largest hands-on cocktail exhibit in Amsterdam. Couples can reconnect with romance on a horse-drawn carriage ride in Vienna, and night owls can sample the abandoned buildings of Budapest which have been transformed into the city’s trendiest bars and clubs.

When nighttime falls, “U Hosts” are on hand to bring guests the local hotspots and hidden gems in each city. Experiences range from visiting a U Host’s favorite nightclub in Amsterdam to wandering along the banks of the Seine on a midnight stroll in Paris, where travelers will experience Paris at one of the most magical times of the evening before venturing off for a night out. There will be DJ’s onboard both ships as well as other nighttime entertainment for fun.

The A and The B offer three room categories—Studio, Balcony and Suites—all with river views. Suites featuring French balconies and a living room area are perfect for honeymooners and those celebrating a special occasion. Balcony rooms are ideal for pairs, and groups of friends traveling together can enjoy Studio rooms that can accommodate up to three passengers. Solo travelers can take advantage of single rooms or special room share rates.

Eight-day itineraries on The A start at $1,699 per person and include sailings along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. Pricing for The B, which sails exclusively on the Seine River and throughout France, starts at $1,999 per person. Starting rates are based on double occupancy and are inclusive of gratuities; port charges are not included.

 

 

River Cruises: Extraordinary Experiences, Unexpected Discoveries

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With most ocean going cruise ships, you dock in an area which is far from any town or attractions (and often in a not-so-nice-area at all). The joy of Avalon is that they dock in the heart of things. Imagine getting off in Cologne and strolling to the famous Cathedral. Or stepping ashore in the charming town of Vollendam in Holland and within two minutes be seated at a charming waterfront café. It’s easily done.

 

 

And speaking of going ashore, with Avalon your shore excursions are included – a huge difference from the big ships where it’s easy to drop hundreds of dollars on shore excursions. And this year Avalon has also introduced more variety into their excursions. You can do the “traditional” route, which is usually a walking tour with a knowledgeable and interesting local guide (Avalon provides handy listening devices so you never miss a detail). Or you can choose “essential” where you get the main highlights, combined with free time on your own to shop or explore. Slow things down a bit by choosing a “leisurely” pace. And if you want a workout with your walk, Avalon supplies Nordic walking poles, free of charge!

 

 

The onboard experience also varies significantly to being on a big ship. Take Avalon Waterways’ sleek new European vessels – they have an average capacity of just 143 passengers, a far cry from the literally thousands who may board an ocean-going cruise ship. So it’s a more intimate experience. By the time your holiday is over, you get to know many of your fellow passengers and the friendly international crew.

 

 

Many travellers are also curious about accommodation on the European river cruises. Every single ship in Europe has to be the same width, as they all have to fit into the locks. So how spacious can you make a stateroom? Surprisingly so. Avalon has the newest ships on the rivers of Europe and this year feature five Panorama class vessels, which offer 200 square feet staterooms (30% larger than industry standard) featuring glorious 11 foot wide windows which open a full 7 feet so you can really experience the sights and sounds of Europe. Like having an open air balcony – without sacrificing the space!

 

 

Dining onboard is also an experience as you’ll enjoy the freshest ingredients from the country you are floating through. Breakfasts and lunches are generous and stylish buffets, while at dinner you have the choice of a four course dinner or a casual light bistro meal, both served with complimentary wine or beer. Every cruise features a dinner prepared by a local chef who comes on board to work his or her magic.

 

 

Nightlife? While you won’t find casinos, magicians or dancing girls, you will enjoy port talks that delve into the history and culture of your ports of call, and live music from a local group who’ll come on board to share a bit of their culture with you. Plus, you’ll enjoy food and beverage tastings with local hosts.

 

 

Let us give you more insight into Avalon and their amazing European experiences. With over 28 itineraries from 5 to 24 days, including theme cruises (music, wine, Christmas markets, history and more) you can explore Europe the way it was meant to be – up close!